Friday 21 September

Fortunately Hurricane Gordon did not threaten Florida and later Florence went further north and caused massive damage in the Carolinas. We count our blessings and seem to have avoided a repeat of last year’s Irma from which I am still recovering.

My wonderful contractor who now only has to complete the French doors and the associated woodwork surrounds and baseboard (skirting board). He promises to be there but never arrives. Fortunately I have not paid him yet … I haven’t even had an invoice so this seems to be open to negotiation on my part when it does arrive.

In my last blog I reported that following a leak in the air-conditioning units there had been a substantial amount of drying out required. In the event holes were punched into my ceiling to aid the process. I have yet to hear further from the insurance company regarding this claim. With 2 dehumidifiers and 8 fans in my house for 6 days there was an expected hike in my electricity bill which I will add to any claim!

Following the report of clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania Diocese there have been further disclosures in Germany, Benedictine schools in England and the Dalai Lama has been called into investigate similar crimes among his monks. Two Chicago priests were discovered ‘in flagrante’ in a parking lot in Miami and have since been dismissed. One US cardinal had to cancel a speaking engagement as part of the Papal visit to Ireland and another had to remain in USA to oversee the mess.

I sat down with my new Pastor to discuss a proposal I had created for a Time of Prayer. It was really an opportunity for the faithful to express their anger and astonishment at what had been going on for so long and had so rocked the Church. It is as difficult for the laity to accept responsibility for this as it is for the majority of good priests although even some of these will have been aware of curious ‘goings on’ in relationships between fellow seminarians. My liturgical proposal was put on hold as the local bishop had promised to issue something. My fear is that this will use traditional pious models of prayer (rosary and adoration or even Mass) and fail to hit the mark.

For some these abuse disclosures are already old news and even after two weekends of homilies touching on this some folk were fed up. What is clear is that good clergy are keen to distance themselves from this behaviour (and who can blame them) but it sometimes colours the nature of their public response. All the faithful are called to holiness and one sign of this among catholic clergy has been the call to celibacy. This is a tough demand and if it is not one feels a need to ask “Why isn’t it?” Celibacy refers to all manner of sexual relationships and not just to heterosexual activity.

On September 10 I entered my local bar and asked all what the day’s anniversary was. None remembered that on this day a year earlier Hurricane Irma hit Tampa!

On Saturday 15 September our Bishop of St Petersburg visited St Lawrence to formally install our new Pastor. It was a wonderful occasion in which I had amassed the Hispanic and English speaking musicians. Even the Bishop did the Eucharistic Prayer in Spanish! I wasn’t very well during the following day but managed to get through things. After a rest during the afternoon I returned for the evening Mass and was really impressed that musicians had turned up again for this Mass having already contributed so much the previous day.

Monday 17 September was a day off but instead I went in since the piano tuner was visiting. I wanted to discover how he rated the Cable Co piano I got for nothing. I was pleased to hear that he thought it was a great find!

Later that evening I received a phone call indicating that I should have been at a funeral! This was the first time that I had missed a funeral in 46 years of church music ministry. There were communication issues!

Just in case you are wondering about the weather. Temperatures frequently touch the high 90s and this causes some heavy but short downpours in the evening. This is great for the garden which I have enjoyed weeding recently.




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